by Hillary Langford
Scott’s Addition is bursting with breweries, great food and fun places to let loose, including a boutique bowling alley, a shuffleboard joint, and even an arcade bar. But the Richmond hotspot is adding one more specialty spot to its lineup, and this one really hits the mark.
The Bingo Beer Co., located in the former River City bingo hall on Broad Street, takes an idea done well by The Circuit (a self-serve booze station and game room) and kicks it up a few notches by actually brewing beer.
The company is a joint venture by Comfort and Pasture co-owners Jason Alley and Michele Jones, and Saison owner Jay Bayer (Ted Ukrop, a well-known businessman is involved as well).
The location fits about 600 and carries a kitschy vibe with wild colors (reminiscent of Coney Island posters) and some brass elements. “Think urban amusement park or boardwalk midway,” Bayer says.
Games featured include ping pong, pool, table-top shuffleboard, corn hole, and a host of vintage video games. Bayer says that while The Circuit and Bingo offer some of the same things, the new place will focus on service.
“Get your card out one time and no matter where else you are in the space, you’ll be taken care of. Closeout wherever you need to, order a beer, add money to your tab for the coin machine to play, stuff like that,” he says.
Alley has created a menu that pairs traditional bar and midway food with high-quality ingredients. Jeremy Dutra, formerly of Pasture and Rapp Session, serves as executive chef. “He knows how to make approachable, fun things,” Bayer says.
As for beer, the 15-barrel, three-vessel brewhouse has poached Ken Rayher from Champion Brewing Company and Sean O’Hern from The Answer Brewpub. The pair will focus on basic, good, beers. The flagship, Bingo Lager, is 4.8 percent ABV and lands somewhere between a helles and a pilsner. “We call it classically crushable, modestly modern,” says Bayer.
Bingo will also offer a schwarzbier, saison, New England-style IPA, doppelbock and an American-style gose (think more sour and higher ABV). They have plans for sour beers with fruit additions inspired by classic cocktail syrups like fassionola and liqueurs. The plan is to distribute soon, starting with the lager.
“Cans of tasty, crushable, well-made beer. I’m stoked,” Bayer says. “This is beer in an everyman kinda way.”